New figures have revealed that a deluge of older workers are swamping the market, snapping up jobs such as cleaning, property development and taxi driving, in a bid to make their pensionable years a bit easier financially.
The Office for National Statistics data shows that the number of workers who are older than state pension age is now twice the level recorded in 1993. According to ONS figures, last year there were 1.4 million pensioners in work, compared to just 753,000 in 1993.
The research also calculated that the number of older people in work is rising more rapidly than the population overall, refuting some claims that the increase is simply due to a general population increase.
Fewer than one in eight pensioners is currently working to supplement their income, compared to around just 7% in 1993. And of the two sexes, women are by far the more likely to stay in employment, with 61% of OAP workers female, compared to the 30% figure for men. However, men were found to keep working in more skilled roles compared to women. Two in three male workers over the pension age were in positions deemed as higher skilled, whilst the same proportion of women were found in lower skilled work.
The report from the ONS revealed that men could typically be found in roles such as chief executive, sales and marketing positions, production managers as well as taxi driving and farming. The types of jobs that older women were frequently found in were positions such as care workers, cleaning, administration and retail.
With many people of working age struggling to find a job, there have been some accusations that pensioners are taking jobs away from families, causing financial hardship but experts have denied this is the case. According to some economists, the number of jobs grows in direct relation to the number of workers available, meaning older workers are contributing to helping drum up recruitment.
In days gone by, older workers simply downed tools once they reached retirement age, going from full time employment to sitting at home. The new trend is for OAPs to restructure their job, either reducing their hours or starting up a new endeavour, such as becoming self employed.
While debts and financial hardship undoubtedly play a part in the decision to keep working, some sources have suggested that improving health is also a fundamental factor. With many older workers in far better health than in the past, a large number feel that pension age is simply too young to retire.
However, the credit crunch has squashed many people’s pension provisions, crushing the amount they expected to receive to a fraction of the income. And with stock markets also falling, unit-linked funds have dropped in value, hitting those who are unlucky enough to take their annuity at the wrong time.
Many experts believe the problem is likely to get worse, with many older workers under retirement age failing to put aside any money for when they stop earning. With the financial squeeze affecting the whole of the country, finding spare cash to squirrel away for retirement has been repeatedly proven to be low on the list of people’s priorities.
Experts have repeatedly agonised over how to get more people saving, to avoid a generation of debt-stricken pensioners forced to work on because they have no financial choice. However, the downturn has hampered all campaigns, with many people simply struggling to survive.
If you want to save for the future but are struggling financially with debts, now is the time to take control. If you don’t think you can manage your debts alone, there are specialist debt management companies, such as Baines and Ernst, who can help you get back on your feet again.
They could help you to lower debt repayments and repay your lenders at a rate that’s more comfortable within your budget. This could help you cope with inflation affecting household bills and help you towards clearing your debts.
You retirement is important, so do what you can now to help your pension fund in the future.
This post was written and supported by Baines and Ernst, a debt management specialist company based in the United Kingdom.